Staff and students at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) have been proudly providing vital supports from many departments to address key issues in the Covid-19 battle.
The Nursing, Science, Engineering, Design and other departments have all been to the fore as they offer services and innovative ideas to support frontline workers.
This has resulted in the institute making a significant contribution locally across many sectors.
Paul Hannigan, President of LYIT, said: “We are greatly honoured to make a contribution to the national efforts of addressing some of these challenges and supporting the frontline workers during this crucial time. In recent weeks, our staff and students have worked in resourceful and imaginative ways to contribute to the local communities during these unprecedented times”.
LYIT’S nursing students are playing a vital part in the fight against the pandemic.
Final year nursing students in general, psychiatric and intellectual disability nursing are HSE employees and working with our local hospitals and clinical partners.
Dr Louise Mc Bride, Head of Department of Nursing and Health Studies has facilitated nursing students from other years to apply for the “HSE Be on Call” agreement, whilst many students are volunteering in their local communities.
LYIT nursing staff have also volunteered to support local HSE Occupational Health Department on contact tracing following increased demand on their services.
“It’s a display of their courage and resilience to step up to this call. These students are wonderful ambassadors of LYIT and the nursing profession. We are very proud of students working and volunteering at this very challenging time in the fight against COVID-19,” states Dr Louise McBride.
The Department of Nursing and Health Studies and the Department of Science donated all their available PPE stock to local Public Health Nursing Partners which was gratefully received.
The Department of Science in LYIT has been working with Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) in the production of Hand Sanitizer, in line with WHO guidelines, for use by staff working in the frontline.
The Department has also donated PPE to LUH and made equipment and facilities available to support the national efforts as required.
Dr Joanne Gallagher Head of Department of Science said: “The Department is delighted to be able to make a contribution to support the work of frontline staff and provide support however we can”.
Engineering staff in LYIT along with technology teachers throughout the county have joined a nationwide campaign to supply protective face shields for medical staff during the Covid-19 crisis using the latest 3D printing technology. This is part of an international effort supported by the use of shield designs being provided free for use to cut down the time for design and manufacture to a minimum.
LYIT engineers were approached by Dr Erik Korba, LUH, to ask if they could produce the face shields. Dr Korba reached out to LYIT, schools and industry having seen a free design for a protective shield provided online by a Czech engineer.
Using equipment normally used by electronics and mechanical engineering students for projects, LYIT engineers went into immediate production. Anticipating the shutdown of college buildings, they set up a 3D printing facility in Donegal town and transferred production to there as well as maintaining production in the CoLab building on the Letterkenny campus.
This combined effort resulted in the delivery of 520 face shields in the first week of production.
Dr Jim Morrison, Head of Department of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, LYIT said: We are delighted to be able to produce the face shields. The valuable skills and expertise of our engineering staff has now resulted in a series of tweaks to the design to allow a quicker production cycle. We are thankful to those working on the frontline”.
Local glazing manufacturers and other companies have also joined the effort and alternative manufacturing methods are being investigated to ensure high quality shields are produced for frontline staff as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, LYIT has been facilitating the Gardai through extensive use of the CoLab building on the Letterkenny campus.
“LYIT has always been a centre point to the local community in Letterkenny and surrounding areas. I am delighted to see staff and students, as well as other businesses and local residents coming together in the fight against Covid-19. Work continues to evolve and other Departments within the institute have additional creative work ongoing”, says Paul Hannigan, LYIT President.